The sleek, gloss black Beko ASGN542B is a modern side-by-side US-style fridge freezer boasting vast capacity, ice and water on tap, and A+ energy efficiency for low running costs. It delivers on all of these promises with ease. The fridge is enormous and well laid out, the water supply can be plumbed in or fed by an internal tank, and the controls are simple and intuitive.
Those looking for an equally enormous freezer will be a little disappointed as its narrow width and space taken up by the icemaker do reduce storage volume. Technically, everywhere bar the freezer’s top shelf tested very well with very consistent cooling throughout. Add to this surprisingly low running costs for a side-by-side fridge freezer and the Beko ASGN542B is a real winner.
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If you’re looking for kitchen wow-factor and something a little different, you’re in luck. The Beko ASGN542B is a large side-by-side fridge freezer, resplendent in a full gloss-black finish. About two acres of it. At 91cm wide and 179cm tall, that is a whole lot of style statement.
The all-black look is given a stylish brushed stainless steel control panel above its ice/water dispenser and a vividly coloured status indicator bar. This shows five states of play, from a warning the door has been left open (red) to noting that the fridge is in low energy holiday mode (yellow). When all is well the bar is green. There is a sticker to note these colour codes which you will have to remember if you want to remove the sticker.
The bar itself might be more for show anyway, as the main panel shows LED indicators for temperature, warnings and modes. I also shine the digits and icons seemingly from beneath the stainless surface. It’s a neat trick, meaning when the display turns itself off, the panel looks like clean stainless steel with only in the main indicator bar illuminated.
On the downside the gloss black and stainless steel of the panel have a magnetic attraction to fingerprints, so this is not going to be a low maintenance finish if you have a busy family.
Grasp either of the neatly inset handles and the relevant door swings open with a solidly built feel. Both doors are fitted with antibacterial door seals to reduce the chance of food contamination and stop any potential black mould build up over time. Unlike actual US side-by-side appliances, Beko has concealed the hinges. This gives the appliance a clean look and reduce the space the doors invade when open – ideal for placing close to side walls.
You are presented with a stunningly lit interior whichever door you open. Both fridge and freezer compartments are side-lit with a long LED strip light which floods the area with crisp, white light. It works outstandingly well in the fridge for illuminating most of the compartment’s upper reaches.
In the freezer, the light looks great empty. The lamp is set a fair way back into the compartment so when you have your freezer stuffed to bursting with produce, the light gets all but obliterated. It would have been so much better to have the lamp nearer the front of the compartment to avoid this happening. Still, as a lot of US-style freezers don’t have a light at all, it should be at least saluted for that.
Beko’s NeoFrost vent at the top of the fridge compartment hints at this machine’s dual cooling systems aimed to reach the ideal temperature and humidity conditions in both compartments. Both compartments get their own fanned air cooling to keep an even temperature throughout and make for completely frost-free operation.
The whopping 368-litre net chilled storage space is set out over four glass shelves, three drawers including Beko ‘EverFresh+’ drawer, and four big door pockets. Beneath the mid door pocket is the reservoir for the water dispenser with a pop-up fill flap robbing the pocket above of a little space. The reservoir is on the opposite door to the dispenser with concealed internal pump and plumbing. Fit and finish is well up to the price topped off with a chrome wire bottle rack.
The 176-litre freezer space is a little more mundane, split over five shelves, two drawers and a couple of shallow door pockets. Unfortunately, ice and water mechanism, ice store and the door dispenser itself create a huge bulge on the freezer door which means the shelves are all quite shallow front to back. That is not unusual for a side-by-side with a ice/water dispenser so you pays your money and takes your choice.
If you need more fridge space or chilled-food storage versatility than the Beko ASGN542B offers, you’re probably running a restaurant. It’s a vast amount of space, and the layout is good. Of the four shelves, two offer adjustable height to a mid-way between the two shelf heights. It’s a big old jump between actual heights, but it does give the space some extra flexibility.
You get a very rare trio of drawers, all of which glide out on proper rollers rather than simply slide. The smallest drawer at the top is a near-zero-degree drawer for meat and fish. Below this you get Beko’s ambitiously titled EverFresh+ salad crisper drawer. By closely controlling temperature, air flow and humidity, this storage area is claimed to keep fruit and vegetable fresh for up to 30 days.
Below that is a relatively mundane ‘normal’ deep-section salad drawer, completing a green-grocer’s worth of specialist veggie storage.
The fridge door is no less well appointed. Low down (but still high enough to reach easily) you get a large bottle storage door bin with plenty of depth and good height side wall to keep 2-litre bottles and large milk cartons in place. At the top of the door is a flap-covered dairy compartment and shallower pocket below that with a removeable egg tray.
A second large bottle pocket halfway up the door looks unusual in that it has the water reservoir for non-plumbed use of the ice and water dispenser. A filter tube protrudes into the door pocket space with a cover flap. Sounds easy, doesn’t it?
Well, you will need to pour water into the reservoir carefully using a jug with a good pouring spout, as the opening isn’t that wide and you need to navigate around the door pocket itself. Don’t be tempted to fill the drawer right up, though. As we found out, filling the reservoir any higher than its lid results in water pouring down the inside of the door. You will do that sooner or later, guaranteed.
The third issue with the container is that it is very small. About 2.5 litres, to be precise. By the time the ice maker had borrowed a litre and you’ve had a couple of glasses of water it will need refilling. Again. And again. That is no easier than simply keeping a 2-litre bottle of tap water in the fridge.
Thankfully this Beko offers the ability to plumb in its ice and chilled water dispenser and include an in-line filter. Speak to your retailer for the kit and a tame plumber for installation. It will be well worth it. Otherwise using the Beko non-plumbed, the water reservoir is only really useful for keeping you in ice.
Over in the freezer there is no getting away from the volume of storage space that the ice maker is taking up. That brings your net frozen food storage down to 176 litres, across five shelves and two drawers. While that is still a realistically large volume of space, it is no more than a tall 60cm-wide traditional fridge freezer might offer you.
All five shelves are relatively shallow front to back, loosing at least 10-12cm from their potential depth thanks to the ice maker assembly. On the plus side, there’s much less chance of items getting lost in the murky recesses of each shelf, even if the side lighting is blocked by produce. Below the ice maker assembly are two door pockets, both of decent depth and labelled for ice cream. We approve of that too.
The Beko ASGN542B isn’t the quietest of fridge freezers by modern standards, but it’s still whisper-quiet compared to models from 10 years back. Under normal running conditions it measured around 43dB, which is exactly what was stated on the energy label. No problems with that, and hardly obtrusive compressor noise.
The same can’t be said for the water and ice dispenser. This runs an electronic pump that moves water from the right-hand door to the left-hand through the machine. That happens when you demand water or every couple of hours automatically to refill the ice cube tray. The pump runs at around 50dB but at least only for a few seconds.
Noisier still is the mechanism that twists the ice cubes out of the tray and drops them into the storage bucket below, awaiting delivery via this dispenser. It’s unavoidable given the need to produce a large quantity of ice, so you don’t run out when the Pimm’s is flowing. Be prepared for creaking ice and dropping ice cube sounds when you least expect it. In the dead of night that is certainly going to be a kitchen surprise.
This side-by-side Beko got lumbered with testing throughout the two hottest weeks in June, when even our environmental chamber was struggling to keep the temperature at an ambient 19°C to replicate the average kitchen most of the year round. However, it generally acquitted itself well against the challenging shape of a side-by-side model, as keeping tall thin chambers with a single door cool is a lot trickier physically than traditional square or rectangular compartments.
The weather did mean that the chilled water and ice dispenser came in very useful indeed. Both worked admirably, with the caveat of the limited-volume water container. You get the option of slightly rounded ice cubes or crushed ice. As ever with crushed ice dispensers, expect bits of crushed ice to be jettisoned into the dispensers drip tray and into the room as well as your glass.
We loaded up the Beko with 0.5kg of produce per 10 litres of fridge space and 1kg of frozen food per 10 litres of freezer space including 2 litres of room temperature water to simulate fresh-to-frozen cooling. We actually had to go shopping to get enough produce to load the capacious fridge compartment. During testing the phrase, “I could live with this fridge”, was used, which is a good endorsement to the refrigerator’s practical storage solutions.
Despite the balmy weather, the temperature in the fridge remained remarkably consistent if perhaps a little higher than ideal, given that we set the controls to 4°C. In fact, only the mid shelf averaged 4°C, with the EverFresh+ drawer averaging 6°C and the bottom drawer 7°C. Unusually the top shelf and bottom drawer averaged exactly the same 7°C.
These slightly elevated temperatures are probably one or maybe 2°C higher than absolutely ideal to keep your food in tiptop condition. Yet given the 30°C daytime temperatures at the time of testing, we’re going to cut the Beko some slack on that one. Besides, if you have an interior fridge thermometer that suggests the same results as us, just nudge the controls down by a degree or two.
Temperature swing throughout the compressor cycle was remarkably good for a side-by-side model which generally show whopping fluctuations as warmer air rises through the tall compartment. No shelf or drawer varied by more than 1° degree either side of average, with the EverFresh+ drawer in particular showing very stable temperature.
We can’t comment too much on how the airflow and humidity control will influence the longevity of fruit and vegetables stored in the EverFresh+ drawer but keeping the temperature this stable is always a good start. Certainly, during testing, some local strawberries did last the best part of 2 weeks in this compartment – albeit Jackie having to dob them with chilli oil to stop me eating them during the test.
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The Beko’s tall freezer compartment showed the opposite trend to the fridge, in that most shelves and drawers run around 2° lower than the -18° C temperature set on the thermostat. The mid shelves and both drawers all averaged -20° C, +/- just 2° C throughout the compressor cycle. The top shelf proved a little warmer at an average of -17° C with a much wider swing throughout the compressor cycle. This meant that the shelf temperature bounced between -20° C and -12° C.
That dynamic range of swing is not massively problematic to frozen foods, unless the power happens to fail when it is at the warmest part of the cycle… Which is coincidently exactly when we ran the 3 hour power failure test. As such the top drawer temperature went above 0° C after just 2 ½ hours and was nearly 2° C by the time we switched power back on.
The mid shelves fared better although even they reached -7° C at the end of the test. Both drawers remained below -10° C for the duration of the power outage. Other than the top shelf the fail test results are not too bad given the environmental chamber was running at 23 to 24° C, as opposed to a usual 19° C. Only the top shelf is a real concern, so we would suggest non-temperature critical foods be stored in the upper reaches of the Beko’s freezer in case of a power outage.
The Beko’s A+ rating is very good for this size of appliance, particularly side-by-side models which are the trickiest shape to cool. Again, the Beko was up against prevailing weather conditions and our chamber running at over 22° C during the day, so we were expecting some higher than anticipated energy consumption figures.
Which we didn’t get.
In fact, the ASGN542B turned in a truly admirable set the energy results given the weather and the fact that the ice dispenser got well used and I kept opening the door in search of strawberries. On average, over 2 weeks it was using around 0.8 kWh of electricity per day, which would equate to comfortably under 300 kWh for the year. At an average cost of 15p per kilowatt hour, that is under £45 per year in running costs.
Given the enormous capacity fridge space, consistent temperature fan cooling and built-in ice water dispenser, that is exceptionally good for a side-by-side fridge freezer.
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Eye-catching style, enormous fridge space, plumbed in or tank-fed ice/water dispenser and generally impressive technical tests make this great-looking side-by-side fridge freezer a real winner from Beko. The icemaker does reduce freezer capacity somewhat and the freezer’s top shelf warmed rather quickly in a power-cut, but you simply can’t argue with the ASGN542B’s style, fridge space and relatively low running costs for a side-by-side model.Verdict
One of the best side-by-side fridge freezers we’ve tested, mixing style, low running costs, great performance and winning features.
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